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Rye Football Aiming for Different Finish in '11

RYE, N.Y. -- The Rye varsity football team experienced something in the 2010 season that had not happened since the last millenium. The Garnets lost a Section 1 first-round playoff game.

Somers shocked Rye, which left the Garnets angry and waiting for the 2011 season to start.

“We were coming off the big Harrison win and we had clinched the first seed so maybe we didn’t take it as seriously as we should have,” said senior Joseph Simolacaj of last year’s loss to Somers during a break in practice Monday. “It didn’t feel good at all. It stunck because it ended before anyone thought it would.”

This was a Rye program that won three state championships in the 21st century Simolacaj and his fellow seniors will not allow a repeat of 2010. Rye is aiming for a return trip to the Section 1 Class A championship game, and further.

The Garnets are led by Simulacra (halfback/middle linebacker) and fellow captains -- Jake Meyerson (quarterback), Matt Keough (two-way linemen), Peter Wittwer (two-way linemen) and Dylan Lynch (tight end/linebacker).

Once the shock of the loss wore off, the current seniors called a few meetings to look toward the future.

“We said that we needed to forget about last year,” Simolacaj said. “We said we will come back and to do that, we wanted to get everyone going for the summer.”

Rye spent many hours in the school’s weight room during the offseason. When summer vacation began, Rye hosted a seven-on-seven camp and later competed in one at New Canaan (Ct.).

“I felt we did in the camp we hosted and did very well at New Canaan, making it to the semis,” Simolacaj said.

Simolacaj feels the Garnets have had a good first week of practice. Rye will host Scarsdale in a scrimmage, Thursday, so the Garnets are preparing for that.

“Our morale is good and everyone is psyched to be here,” Simolacaj said. “The intensity is high, we’re picking each other up and we’re all happy to be here.”

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